Valiant Vineyards Winery is South Dakota's first and therefore oldest and most emotionally mature winery. Located on the Vermillion River overlooking the Missouri River, the winery is a shrunken head's throw from downtown Vermillion. With ten tastes included in each ticket, visiting palates can sample a collection of South Dakota-made wine and spirits while live music serenades each sip and swish. Your body's secondary mouths, the feet, will also get to assist in the miracle of wine birth by joining in the fun of crushing nature's round juice containers during the grape stomp. Plenty of food vendors stand ready to pair your wine samples with a plethora of delicious foods. Guest chefs, meanwhile, will teach you how to prepare sangria and other surprise edibles during a series of cooking demonstrations. You can even get your picture on a bottle of wine to see if your vinogenic good looks outshine Paul Sorvino's pasta sauce. On Sunday, amateur winemakers will compete for a number of laurels in a dozen categories, although none will be wine-based Double Dare physical challenges. See the full festival schedule here.
Stalking through the prairie grass, a guide leads his labrador retriever and a hunter into a stretch of foothills. They hear a rustling ahead, prompting them to pause. Peering through the brush, they see a bird with red plumage around its eye, a green head, and a white ring around its neck—the distinguishing marks of a pheasant. The hunter readies his gun, the labrador poises, and both wait for the guide's signal.
The hunting guides at Pheasant Bonanza lead hunters through experiences like these and ready them for similar outings with sport shooting. The sporting-clay course, for example, supplies beginning through advanced shooters with 20 stations whose targets simulate the movements of animals such as quail and rabbits. To further sharpen hunters' aim, the guides also oversee trap, skeet, five-stand, and snooker ranges. This diversity of shooting scenarios prepares clients for guided hunting trips—which include the retrieval and tracking service of trained labradors or german shorthaired pointers—on Pheasant Bonanza's grounds. Spanning hundreds of acres in the Loess Hills, the grounds sustain game such as pheasant, waterfowl, whitetail deer, wild turkey, and rogue Yahtzee dice.
The lodge accommodates guests on extended trips, surrounding them with rustic touches such as a stone fireplace, knotty-pine paneling, and furniture upholstered in hunters' orange. Further services range from expert advice at the pro shop to Pheasant Bonanza's boarding, training, and breeding programs for hunting dogs.
Nestled on the grounds of Pheasant Bonanza, Roosters overlooks hunting fields dotted with plump fowl. Chef Aaron Schroder, a hunter himself, draws inspiration from the view, infusing an ever-changing menu with fresh pheasant and other succulent cuts of meat and seafood. Though born and raised in Nebraska, Schroder cut his teeth as a chef at his mother's Italian restaurant in Seattle and then at eateries in New York City, including Mario Batali's Lupa in SoHo. Since returning to Nebraska, he has applied his skills to prepare such favorites as smoked pheasant and slow-roasted pork shoulder. His wife, April Goettle, brings 20 years of bartending experience to Roosters, where she curates an artisan drink menu alongside simple pours of whiskey and beer.
Though its menu always promises something new, Roosters' decor is a reflection of the past. Mounted animals on the walls pay homage to hunting lounges of the 1950s, and the wooden tables, chairs, and bar top pay homage to really old trees.
Sharks embraces an atmosphere of roadhouse rusticity with exposed-brick-and-wood-paneled walls sporting a surfeit of taxidermy and other colorful décor. Inside, diners can soak in the sounds of cue balls cracking and darts crashing into bull's eyes, while outside in the beer garden, live music sometimes fills the open-aired environment.
Trent Meyer and Derek Bergman are committed members of the United Methodist Church, and sometimes choose to practice their faith through tree climbing, zip lining, swimming, and laser tag. They direct the Methodist-run Camp Fontanelle, a year-round outdoor camp sprawled across more than 180 wooded acres of donated land. Both Trent and Derek draw from backgrounds as campers—and Trent from six years as a teacher—to lead summer camps for preschool through high-school students. They lead a team of camp counselors who coordinate harnessed-rope tree climbing, activities on low-ropes courses, archery lessons, and outdoor laser-tag matches.
They also draw visitors at different times of year with water slides, a 35'x65' jumping pillow and bounce houses, a petting barn filled with alpacas and goats, and pony rides. During the autumn-harvest season, they unveil the annual theme of a 10-acre corn maze filled with 5 miles of trails. A 3-acre pumpkin patch contains small and large carving pumpkins, gourds, mums, and Indian corn, which visitors can harvest and stuff into a large, horn-shaped wicker basket.
When the Bluejays take the court, you can expect to see a sea of bright blue shirts at the Sam & Louie's at the corner of 24th and Cuming in Omaha. The location has been one of Creighton University's homes away from home since it opened in 1994, but its welcoming atmosphere is found at each of the eatery's 24 locations. There, friends and families bond over great conversation and an eclectic mix of casual cuisine from a menu inspired by traditional New York–style pizzerias. Eighteen specialty pizzas are hand tossed into thin-crust pies before being decorated with more than 35 toppings such as creamy alfredo sauce, sliced Italian meatballs, and canadian bacon. In deference to those with special dietary needs, almost all of these specialty pizzas are available in gluten-free pizzas.
In addition to pizzas, cooks also craft their daily-made dough into calzones and strombolis, which ooze with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. The menu culminates in five third-pound Black Angus burgers, Italian hoagies, and eight types of pastas. In addition to hosting guests inside their welcoming pizzerias for both lunch and dinner, the cooks at Sam and Louie's also take their food on the road, offering catering services for events both large and not-so-large.